Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writing on the Wall

About a week ago, I left the house in the morning to discover the wall of a nearby building covered in graffiti. Screaming for attention with its searing yellow hue and the swirly sunshine dotting the "i" the graffiti tells the residents of our little neighbourhood to "smile." Very funny, we think. Smile because they defaced property? Smile because someone will have to spend time cleaning that up in mid-summer heat and humidity? Smile because this action rubs it in our faces that we are powerless to prevent others violating our living space?

Then a funny thing happens. As we continue to live with the graffiti (the building's manager has not had time to clean it up), the initial feeling of indignation recedes and we begin to take the message literally - to respond automatically to the word's actual meaning, instead of responding intellectually to the symbolic meaning of it having been spraypainted there. Smile! The vandal (artist?) has managed to elevate our mood in spite of everything.

I am not comparing cycling to graffiti, really I am not. But it is impossible not to notice that those who don't ride bikes often feel threatened and, yes, even invaded by the appearance of bicyclists and (gasp) bike lanes in their neighbourhoods. These are strong feelings that those of us who cycle can too easily dismiss. But look at it this way: If after some time a vandalised wall can make us smile because of its sunny message, then surely the fun of cycling can be contagious enough to override any hostility toward it as well.

Along the main street around the corner from our house, from 5 pm to 6 pm on any given weekday there is a continuous parade of cyclists traveling home from work. They are all sorts, and most wear their regular clothing - including women in colourful dresses and crazy footwear. Two years ago, not nearly as many cyclists rode through that street - a quarter of the number I see today, at best. There was also a lot of honking from drivers, hostile insults exchanged as a matter of course. Now it hardly happens at all. I see business owners sitting on the front steps and watching the cyclists as the sun sets. It really is a sight when so many different people pass through on their bikes; there is a festive feel to it.

Maybe our neighbourhood has internalised the bicycle as part of its character, as opposed to thinking of it as a hostile foreign body. Maybe drivers and cyclists both have decided to lighten up and smile.


1. I went to Taco Bell after work and ran into a friend. Ate two chicken tacos, a bean burrito, and a chicken quesadilla. Then, I had to take a massive shit. I saw God on that one. Then, on the way out of the store, I saw the Taco Bell chick sitting outside on the walk smoking a joint. TRUE SHIT.

2. Mark Halperin was suspended from MSNBC for calling Obama a "dick." I don't need to write a joke on this one.

3. A woman was tapped to head the IMF. This is because you can't rape someone with a vagina.

New column: 11 Burning Questions as NBA lockout approaches

Here's my new SI column on the NBA labor crisis. While the weather is beautiful today and many folks might not be glued to their TVs, I'll be an in-studio analyst tonight on NBA TV at 6 pm and 11:30 pm eastern. I'm joining Kenny Smith to talk about NBA lockout. Hope you can watch.

Happy 4th!

Normal service resumes late next week.  Meantime, enjoy this exciting new blog.  And for my US readers, enjoy the long holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Does 'Commuting' Mean to You?

Some of us have conventionally structured jobs, where we ride our bikes to the office, stay there for a given period of time, then ride home. Others might move from site to site throughout the day, or work from home, or go to the office and back several times. I've had lots of conversations with friends in both job categories, and it's clear that there are benefits and drawbacks to each: With a conventional schedule, you get a sense of structure, and once you leave the office you are done. On the down side, sitting in the same building for an entire day can feel constricting. With a non-conventional schedule, there is a greater sense of freedom and you can organise your time to suit your needs. On the down side, it can feel as if the work never really ends and that you are chained to your laptop or phone 24/7.

Most of my jobs have fallen somewhere in the second, unstructured category. Even while working in a university setting - probably my most "normal" employment - it was always a back and forth between different locations on and off campus. Now that I have transitioned entirely to freelance work, it is up to me how to organise my time - which is nice in theory, but can work against me if I am not careful.

Finding it nearly impossible to work from home, I like to leave the house for the day and transition between one setting and another - coffee shop, studio, supply store, meeting, park bench. My laptop perpetually in tow, the nomadism is my means of staying both sane and focused.

Cycling back and forth between these locations and home is my version of commuting - though it is disheartening when those with structured jobs say things like "Oh, but then you don't have to commute, do you." I know what they mean to say: There is no pressure for me to arrive somewhere at exactly 9am every day. While this is mostly true, I do have meetings where I am expected to be on time. I also make more trips per day than they do and don't really have a concept of week-ends. But it is not a competition and I think that whatever one considers to be "commuting" is valid for that person. The term is a strange one for non-English speakers anyhow, as they struggle to understand why a special word is needed for traveling to and from work!

For those who do commute in a nomadic fashion, and do so by bicycle, there are some helpful posts about establishing a mobile office (via Girls and Bicycles) and an outdoor office (via Simply Bike). And for those who work 9-5 jobs, there are some great posts by Dottie from Let's Go Ride a Bike on how to take a refreshing joyride on your lunch hour. Cycling can function both to infuse a conventional job with a sense of freedom and to bring structure into a more chaotic work situation. What does commuting mean to you, and how (if at all) has it been affected by cycling?


1. Transformers 3 sucks so bad it makes Green Lantern look good.

2. The invention of the cellphone camera has literally changed the world. Now, you can capture every single bowel movement. How did we ever live without it?

3. GOOD NEWS--Coffee retards Alzheimer's. BAD NEWS--Beer speeds it up!

4. For Jacq:

5. For me:

6. My Gamecocks win the CWS again. Say what you will about SC, but we have some great baseball here.

7. I have to be honest about the TSA's latest embarrassment. A woman with a shit filled diaper definitely shouldn't be on a plane.

8. Large iced coffee and a multigrain bagel at Dunkin' Donuts today. $4.30. Beat that Starbucks.

9. The government wants to raise the debt ceiling, so it can incur more debt to pay for the previous debt. This is the national equivalent of paying off the MasterCard with the Visa.

10. Obama says he doesn't need congressional approval for Libya because he runs this motherfucker!

New video on Dodgers Bankruptcy

Following Nathaniel's excellent work on the Dodgers situation, I have a video for Sports Illustrated channel on what's next with the Dodgers:

Charity Brings Championships

The University of South Carolina won its 2nd National Championship in baseball ... the below comments speak volumes about the need for the virtue of CHARITY on your team.

Some think virtue is for those who don't know how to win - tell that to this team.

South Carolina (55-14) became the first team to ever go 10-0 in an NCAA tournament and the first since Oregon State in 2007 to go unbeaten in a CWS.

The Gamecocks' streaks of 16 NCAA tournament wins and 11 straight in the CWS are both the longest all-time. They became the sixth team to win consecutive national titles and first since Oregon State in 2006-07.

"We're not the most talented team, and we don't have the best players position for position," Roth said, "but we go out and stick together as a team. We battle. I can't describe it. We're a bunch of average Joes and love each other and come out and battle."

"They earned this one," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "They were a little bit better than us in all phases. They pitched a little bit better. They hit a little bit better. They played a little bit better defense and they earned it."

"Just the fact we can stay loose in situations like this," Walker said. "These guys have an unbelievable amount of love for each other."

Q & A

Q: Why do you not take vacation?

A: The short answer is that I am not good at managing free time. Left to myself, I am simply going to goof off and end up with regret over time lost.

This question got lobbed at me when I cashed out my vacation time from work. I do this every year. Paid vacation is a form of compensation, but it is really stupid when you think about it. In order to pay for your vacation, the company actually pays you less. It seems like a bonus, but it isn't. They are simply taking a set of bills out of one pocket and putting it back in the other pocket. There is no free lunch here.

Of course, if I didn't have the option of cashing out the time, I still wouldn't take the vacation except to work extra on some second job. This goes back to my short answer I gave earlier. I am going to waste that time because I already do this on weekends, evenings, holidays, etc. The bulk of this wasted time is online. You are reading the product of this wasted time.

Vacations are meaningful if you have a family, but I don't have a family. If I did, I would want to spend all the time I could with my kids and wife. But for a bachelor, vacations are meaningless. As a single guy, the long weekend with some chick is the holy grail of free time. I have enjoyed a few of these, but I never took a day off of work for these trips. They usually happened on Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend. The truth is if it is a choice between a chick and the job, the job always wins. This has angered a lot of women in my life, but I know the job is what matters. I can always get another woman.

I was born with free time. The challenge is filling the time, and the job does this for me. I'd like to say that writing does it as well, but I'm not paid to write. I write in the same way that people tend a flower garden. It is a personal project, but it doesn't pay the bills. But even when the bills are paid, you can only write so much.

I am on the cusp of a resolution that I have considered doing for a long time. It is the craziest thing I have ever contemplated, and it drives people nuts when I talk about it. But I would like to work everyday for the rest of my life. This would require multiple jobs, a personal business, or something. I don't know how I will pull it off, but I really want to do this. I have wanted to do this ever since Gene Simmons said that he works seven days a week. Nobody does this sort of thing except a handful of people I know. Those people are fucking awesome. One lady I know works three jobs. Total workaholic.

I'm nuts. This is the way I am.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shorter Cranks, Dainty Pedals, and the Ambiguity of Toe Overlap

Last week I was offered the opportunity to trade the Sugino Alpina crankset on my mixte for the exact same model with shorter cranks, and I went for it. The original cranks were 170mm. The ones on it now are 165mm. A 5mm difference is very small, but can be significant. For instance, some say that shorter cranks make for a smoother pedal stroke. But my reason for the change was to reduce toe overlap. I mentioned previously that my mixte has it to a small degree, and that I'd like to get rid of it since I now use this bike mainly for transportation. In theory, that could be done either by converting to 650B or re-raking the fork. But before resorting to such drastic measures, I wanted to try something easier.

In addition to the shorter cranks, I also replaced the MKS Touring pedals with Velo Orange City Pedals. Being smaller, my assumption was that the new pedals would reduce overlap further still - though I am now told this isn't so.

Either way, with the new set-up my toes are about 1/4" further back from the front fender than where they were previously. These are the longest-toed boots I own, and with my foot in its most typical position on the pedal there is no overlap even on the widest turn.

Aerial view.

But the thing about an upright bike that is ridden casually and with no foot retention, is that you can plant your foot on the pedal any which way. Sometimes I am sloppy, and plop it down further forward than typical when starting. In that sense, the toe overlap issue remains ambiguous. I need to ride around with this setup for a few weeks to see whether it still happens on occasion. I am not sure whether I notice any difference between the old cranks and the new ones, but it's possible that my pedaling feels a little "rounder." Or I could be imagining it, because that's what I've been told is supposed to happen. (Crank length placebo effect?)

As for the VO City Pedals, I absolutely love them so far. Ever since having tried them on the Rainbow Bike, I wanted them for myself. They don't stab my bare legs and toes the way MKS Touring pedals do, they are grippy, and they are extremely light (228gr per pair). It also does not hurt that they are pretty - though this, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder.

One caveat though, is that these pedals are very narrow (82mm across) and I have heard from a couple of people who find them uncomfortable for that reason. If you have large feet or tend to wear bulky workboots on your city bike, these are probably not the best choice.

So far I am happy with the changes I've made here, and together with the new basket the mixte has definitely turned into a transportation bike. The toe overlap was minor to begin with, so hopefully this will render it insignificant - but we'll see.

If you've ever played around with crank length on your bikes, did you notice a tangible difference? I have bicycles with cranks ranging from 165mm to 175mm, and they all feel fine, so I tend to use things like bottom bracket height and wheel size to determine what cranks a bike should have. But what do I know! Maybe with time I'll be able to tell the crank length of the bike I am riding just by the way it feels to pedal... though I remain skeptical.

Sour Grapes

An anonymous commenter left the remark "sour grapes" on my post yesterday. I thought it was ironic because I was thinking about that very subject myself just the other day. I thought it would make a good blog post, so here it is.

The term "sour grapes" comes from one of Aesop's fables. Once upon a time, a fox was going through the woods when he saw some grapes hanging overhead. They looked very tasty, so he tried to get them. He would run and jump, but he could not reach them. He tried to climb the tree, but he was not adept at climbing. Defeated, the fox looks at the grapes and says, "They are sour anyway." Then, he went on his way.

The point of the story is that it illustrates how people pretend not to want what they do not have or cannot have. There is some truth to it. But what happens when it is something that you can have? And what if these things are simply unreal?

There is one thing I can say unequivocally. Being rich is better than being poor. Having money is better than not having money. Granted, money creates new problems such as fake friends and envy from peers. But these pale in comparison to some poor mother in Africa who has lost her newborn because she could not afford to travel to see a doctor. The fact is that I am very lucky to be born in the USA, and I never forget this. On every measure relative to the rest of the world, Americans are rich. This is why I champion the free market because it is freedom that creates this prosperity and spreads it around the world.

But there is a downside to money, but this is within the mind of the rich person. Some people deal with it well while others do not. People with sudden wealth have a bad habit of blowing it almost as quickly as they acquired it. Then, there are those without money who aspire to be like those rich fools and dig a pit of debt for themselves. Do I envy these people? Nope. You can call this "sour grapes" and say "shit on the haters." But I don't care to be like these debtors.

These things are what are known as "vanities." This would be the fox who actually got the grapes only to find that they are neither sour nor sweet but fake. In our times, these would be the real people that I have witnessed buy houses they could not afford and end up much worse off. The reason I don't fall into disasters like this is a direct result of my modest living. Is this sour grapes on my part? Well, I could have financed a home myself on my good credit considering that bad credit was no longer a barrier to owning a home. In that respect, it was not sour grapes because the grapes were mine anytime I wanted them.

You are never going to hear me say that dating a supermodel isn't worth it. Supermodels are hot, and if you can avail yourself, please do so. For me to knock on supermodels would be sour grapes indeed. I know they are out of my league, but they are still quite delicious. I can also add the Porsche and the Ferrari to the mix. I can't afford those, but they are also quite sweet.

What would it take to get these sweet things? Basically, you need money. So, how do you get money? Well you can work hard and save for it like I do. But the people that buy these things and get fabulously rich don't work. They might put in some long days, but their rewards are completely out of proportion to the labor. I have to laugh when some slick rock star talks about how the band and he were "hard at work" in the studio. Well, I am hard at work at what I do, but you don't see me with millions.

These folks get rich because of luck. The irony is that because people are famous they are not necessarily rich. Some earn a lot and get screwed out of it. Other people are just in the public eye, but they have yet to get a pay day. This would be bloggers popular enough to give up their day jobs, but they still earn at the median income.

I know that I can make a lot of money. This is because I know how the big money gets made. You simply get rid of all moral scruples and work in financial services. Nerds might make decent money as programmers and engineers. Others become doctors and dentists. Still others wait tables and roll the dice for a career in showbiz. But the easy and quick way is to fuck all those other people out of their money. If you doubt this, how many times have you heard of rock stars surprised that they are broke while their manager is making out like a bandit?

The reason I am not rich is very simple. I have moral standards. I never begrudge doctors and entertainers their wealth because they do not deceive anyone to get what they have. I feel sorry for them when they get screwed out of their earnings by duplicitous people without a conscience. These are the people who were getting rich off of the housing bubble, and they even knew it was going to end badly. But fees get collected on the way up and on the way down. If you are someone who believes it is immoral to allow a sucker to keep his money, you want to get yourself into the financial services sector. And don't worry. Uncle Sam will bail you out if things go against you. Slime looks out for its own.

When I was a kid, I used to look at these hot shot players as something I aspired to be. I wanted to be Gordon Gekko. I thought that guy was awesome. But as I got older and wiser, I realized that being like that has a moral cost. This is Slime World. I know it very well, but I don't live there. I don't envy those people. The fact that the people in Slime World dream of getting out should tell you something.

People who live in Slime World believe that others envy them. They don't. Other people simply hate them for being slime. The other is that they believe they have earned their privileged status, and that others are somehow inferior to them. This inferiority is what we in the normal world call "morality." To live in Slime World requires a certain degree of self-delusion and ignorance. For someone like me who knows better, it requires a pure sense of nihilistic evil. I am not able to be this evil. My intelligence divorced from moral constraint would make me wealthy. This is my "weakness." I can't pull this off.

At the end of the day, I want to feel good about how I earn a living. If this means making an average income and living modestly, I am quite fine with that. I have a good life. If I doubt this, I think of Africa or North Korea. I would love to make more, and I will never turn down a raise. But I made the decision a decade ago that whatever I did, it would be in this real and honest world of the blue collar man. Of all the things I write about here, the blue collar theme is the least popular. This is because most of the people who read my blog are white collar office workers. Blue collar people don't read blogs because they are too busy working during the day to get paid to surf the internet.

This leaves me with the toys criticism I make endlessly. I can afford the toys even if I can't afford a Ferrari. I can buy new stuff. I can finance new stuff to leverage out the fun. Or I can go cheap and buy used stuff. But stuff abounds. I can have the boat, the jet ski, the Harley, and a new car. This is because people in my income bracket have these things. But they struggle to make payments while I would prefer not to do this. The other thing is that I am simply not into the toy thing and neither are they. Buying adult toys is what you are supposed to do. This is the "good life."

To have sour grapes, you have to want things that you can't get. For me, I can either get them, or I simply don't want them. So, what do I want that I can't get? This would be that Ferrari and the gorgeous hot babe. That is it. I'm not terribly interested in anything beyond that. If you ever hear me being critical of those two things, that would definitely be sour grapes.

More on NBA Age Restriction

Age restrictions, especially in the NBA and NFL, have been a big discussion point on this blog since it began 8 years ago.  Here's the New Republic's Nathan Pippenger's take on the NBA's age limit, which requires that players be 19 plus one year out of high school.

LC & Snatch

LC 2x20kg: 5
LC 2x28kg:4x 10reps (4rpm)

Snatch 12kg, fleece gloves & talcum: 10min (5m/5m)

Push ups on kb handles: 3x 10reps

The long cycle with 28s - happy that I could do 4x10. Long rests in between. Two things made this hard, on the one hand, the weight, on the other hand, the tempo. I am a very lazy lifter tempo-wise and have to struggle to fight that.

The snatches, I pretended that I was lifting a 32kg bell and thus get a more distinct yank in the lower swing (so it "flies" up, and I don''t lift it over head :-).

Hot weather today, but I have a fan.

The Clipless Ambush: a Tale of Failure

Well, my first encounter with clipless pedals occurred sooner than I anticipated. Last week the Co-Habitant decided to update his pedals, and the new set arrived in the mail today... which meant that he could gift me his old ones. I thought that surely this gifting would take place some time in the future - a distant, abstract future. But no. Cheerfully he attached them to one of our vintage roadbikes right then and there, so that I could give them a try. Don't get me wrong, I myself had expressed interest in this. But... I don't know, I just didn't expect it to happen immediately!

I already owned a pair of compatible shoes, having bought them on clearance last summer "just in case." With apprehension I watched him attach the cleats to the soles, trying to gauge the correct position. I then put them on and dragged the bike over to the kitchen sink, so that I could hold on to the edge with one hand as I tried to figure out how the contraptions worked.

I expected that clipping in would be relatively easy, but clipping out difficult. It was the opposite. At first I could not to clip in. I tried and tried, but my foot stayed on top of the pedal and the mechanism would not engage no matter how hard I pressed. I struggled to figure out what I was doing wrong, but the explanation turned out to be simple: I am a weakling. We had to loosen the tension almost to the max for my foot to engage the mechanism. Even after that, I still had trouble pressing down with enough force and in the exact position necessary for the cleat to catch. Clipping out, on the other hand, was intuitive: the sideways twist of the foot is exactly the same motion required to get out of Power Grips, so I found it natural. Transitioning from the kitchen sink to the trainer, I practiced for some time, clipping in and out successfully. I then decided it was time to go outside. I felt pretty confident at this point. Nothing to this. 

It was around 10 pm and the small side street behind our house was well lit and empty of cars. Confidently, I carried the bike outdoors, swung my leg over the top tube, and clipped in my right foot. Now all I had to do was push off, coast for a bit, then put my left foot back down on the ground. That would be such an easy first step. No different from Power Grips. Just need to do it. Now. Go! But... it was not to be.  Like some malfunctioning marionette, I kept clipping and unclipping my right foot, trying to mentally force myself to push off, but it wasn't working; nothing was happening. The amused Co-Habitant offered to stand at the end of the street and "catch me" if I found myself unable to unclip when I got there. But imagining that just made it worse. It began to feel as if I'd forgotten how to ride a bike entirely. 

There is no redeeming ending to this story. After a good ten minutes I gave up and went back inside, my head hung low in shame. Obviously I am just not ready.

Aside from the tale of failure, I have some observations about the shoe and pedal set-up. I can't find the model name of the shoes, but in retrospect getting clipless shoes with laces was silly. Being stiff and unyielding, they are difficult to put on and tighten, and it's a pain to tuck the laces under the velcro. I am also not sure these pedals are right for me. They are Shimano SPD 520s: mountain bike style, double sided and with a very small surface area. I know that many love this type of pedal, but to me it felt like not enough of my foot was connected. Pedaling on the trainer, I had the sensation that there was too much pressure on the spot where the cleat meets the pedal and that a larger contact area would have been better. Maybe these particular shoes are not stiff enough, or maybe I would do better with a different style of pedals. There seems to be a consensus that the mountain bike clipless system is easier than the road system, but I wonder whether I might prefer the latter. Unfortunately, there is no way to try these things out. 

Navigating the world of clipless shoes and pedals is complicated, and at the moment it seems best to postpone it... at least until I am brave enough to use the ones I have beyond the confines of my kitchen!  

Coming up on tonight's show - 28th June 2011

We’re here from 7pm on 98.7FM in Cardiff and online at with award winning sporting discussion and debate.

- We begin tonight with our preview of the David Haye vs. Vladimir Klitschko world heavyweight fight this weekend. Our boxing man Matthew Eves is here to cast his eye over this much anticipated bout.

- In cricket we have the latest as England take n Sri Lanka in the 1st One Day International against Sri Lanka and we have TWO pairs of tickets to give away for this Friday’s Twenty20 match at the Swalec Stadium here in Cardiff.

- Andy Murray powered his way through to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon yesterday and we assess his chances of winning a first grand slam title.

- The Tour de France begins this Saturday and Josh Morris from our very own Saturday Sports Show previews this year’s competition.

- Plus Yousef brings us all the latest transfer news.

You can get involved with the show by sending us your thoughts about any sporting issue.
Give us a call on: 02920 235 664
Send us a Text: 07728 758 759

Monday, June 27, 2011

England v Sri Lanka ODI Series Preview

By Zaheer Haque

England begins the ODI series against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Tuesday 28th June at 1pm.
England will go into this ODI series low in confidence after their pathetic performance in the T20 on Saturday and the humiliation suffered against Sri Lanka in the recent World Cup Quarter Final.
Sri Lanka the World Cup Runners up will go into this series very high in confidence and have plenty of match winners which they lacked in the recently concluded Test Series.
England start a new era under the ODI captaincy of Alastair Cook after Andrew Strauss stood down as Captain after the World Cup.  I was very shocked at Cook’s appointment which I mentioned in great detail in a previous blog ‘England’s 3 Lions’ my option would have been Ian Bell for Captain.
Alastair Cook last played an ODI March 2010 and has only played 26 ODI in total even more remarkable to recall him and make him Captain.  I believe giving Cook the Captaincy will put too much pressure on him in ODI as he has never proved himself to be an ODI player and his batting will suffer greatly.
England will also look to Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Morgan who performed well in the recent Test Series to make huge contributions with the bat in the upcoming ODI series.
Ravi Bopara needs to regain his form rapidly in the ODI series as he is badly out of form and has been selected on previous performances.
The omission of Matt Prior from ODI’s is a decision I totally disagree with as he an ideal player to play ODI and his wicket keeping is very good as well. I agree that he hasn’t been in good form in ODI recently but one needs to look at the reasons of his poor form. I believe that Prior bad form is a result of where he has been played in the batting order sometimes and other times at 6 or 7. This meant that he wasn’t mentally ready when he came out to bat and also couldn’t express himself as game to game he didn’t know what position he was batting. I would have kept Prior at number 6 and kept Craig Kieswetter as cover in the squad for Prior if he were to be injured in the series.
I would also have kept faith with Luke Wright who also not been in great form like Prior being messed around with in the batting order and not fully utilised for his bowling. He would have been ideal at number 7 for England. However he has been replaced in the side by Jade Dembach
I feel that it is a huge mistake to play Kieswetter and Dembach instead of Prior and Wright and will fail to make an impact in the ODI Series.
The remaining bowlers in the squad with the exception of Broad deserve to be in the squad and have performed well for England either in Test or ODI. I would have not selected Broad and asked him to play as many county championship matches before the First Test versus India. I would have selected Chris Tremlett who was man of the series in the Test Series against Sri Lanka as he would have troubled them greatly in the ODI Series.
Sri Lanka as shown in reaching the World Cup Final and the way they performed in the T20 on Saturday appear to have the right balance in their squad.
Sri Lanka experienced players both with bat and ball are all in great form and will perform greatly in this ODI Series and will help them to win the series comfortably. 

Evan is a Wimbledon winner

South Wales teenager Evan Hoyt has won his first round match at Junior Wimbledon.

The 16-year-old from Llanelli beat Axel Alvarez Llamas from Spain 6-3, 6-4 to progress to the second round.

“Evan is one of the most promising players in Britain and has been representing GB at 16-and-under level,” said Peter Drew, chief executive of Tennis Wales. “It’s wonderful to see him progressing at this showcase tournament.”

For information about tennis in Wales, please contact Tennis Wales at 029 20 463335 or

Tyson rights a wrong with Nick Charles

There are few things worse thank knowing you’ve wronged another person and then realize that it’s too late to make things right.

In the case of Mike Tyson, who marks his 45th birthday on Thursday, and sportscaster Nick Charles, who died at 64 from bladder cancer over the weekend, a past wrong was amended for while the former CNN Sports anchor and boxing lover was still breathing.

Not that Tyson’s bad deed was on the felony level but I’m sure Tyson feels some satisfaction that he went to visit the ailing Charles right before he died, a feel good story covered by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appropriately enough on CNN.

On Saturday, on his Twitter page, Tyson saluted the universally popular Chicago native:

“Mourning the loss of a true warrior. My Friend & Brother, Nick Charles.”

It wasn’t really the Mellow Mike we see in the media today, the suburban Las Vegas father and husband of wife Kiki, who did something wrong to Charles.

No, it was the raging egomaniac named Iron Mike Tyson, back when we were in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel hyping Tyson’s first out of prison bout, his laugher against windy Hurricane Peter McNeeley.

Someone had assured the always diligent Charles that, if he jetted in from Atlanta, he was sure to land an exclusive, one on one chat with Mercurial Mike.

Tyson seemed to get into a foul mood, a bit of a rage, even at the presser when McNeeley tried to hold up his end of the brutal mismatch bargain by warning Tyson that he would take him “into my cocoon of horror.” (Only, with his thick Boston accent, it came out sounding like “hurrah.”)

Steve Brener, ex-Dodgers PR ace for 17 years, was handling fight pr on behalf of Showtime and he told me to ask if Tyson would carve out a few minutes for Charles and his camera crew.

Tyson answered negatively and Charles was rightfully irritated.

“I flew in from Atlanta just for this and am flying back right away, I can’t believe this,” the atypically furious Charles said to me and to Brener.

So Charles and his crew went back to Georgia with nothing special.

Charles, like I say, was a pro’s pro and not completing his assignment because of Tyson’s mood was something he surely brooded about for a while.

But, when Charles’ days on earth dwindled to a precious few, Tyson went to visit him.

This time, the cameras were rolling.

And, more importantly, Tyson’s 1995 one day, one interview blowoff was surely forgotten.

Tyson may have many regrets about how he treated some people when he boxing’s No. 1 attraction but his minor wrong to Charles was made up in a major way.

Happy birthday, Mellow Mike.

[Michael Marley]

Continue reading on Mike Tyson's minor wrong to Nick Charles was amended in major way before death - National Boxing |


On this week's Tuesday Night Sports Show we have TWO pairs of tickets to give away for Glamorgan's must-win showdown with Surrey at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff.

If you've never been to watch floodlit cricket before or are regular fans, this is a great opportunity for a family night out in the capital.  As part of Glamorgan's season-long promotion ALL children aged 16 or under GO FOR FREE!

So tune in at 7pm tomorrow on 98.7FM in Cardiff and online via the webcam on this blog for your chance to win.

Can the NFL sanction players for misbehavior when the NFL has locked out those players?

John Glennon of The Tennessean asks Gary Roberts and me that question, and we seem to disagree.

Building bridges

'Build a bridge and then get over it.' I like this saying because I just don't see the point in bearing grudges and dragging up old things that should be long dead and buried - it's kinda like living with scabby old sores that you keep picking off only to make them bleed again when they have nearly healed - all you end up doing is creating an ugly scar. Surely it would be better to put a plaster on your sore and then, once it has healed, just remove it?

If people do wrong by me or my friends, I just distance myself from them as I find that it's much easier to do this than create a negative focus and dwell on it. Life is much nicer when you surround yourself with positives and push the negatives away. So, I just don't understand people who can't let go and who insist on letting things fester and eat away at them - It must make life really horrible to be so focussed on negative emotions. I feel genuine sympathy for those who carry the heavy weight of bitterness on their shoulders and the chains of paranoia around their hearts. It cannot really make for a very cheery existence and God only knows there are enough hurdles in life to face without wasting energy on suspicion, rumour and innuendo.

It also bugs me how easily people think the worst of others. What is with that? And how can a person make a decision on someone else based solely on on what they think that person may or may not have said about them according to a third party or parties? Surely it is better to go to the source and listen to what they have to say and then decide? Everyone has agendas it seems and some people will stop at nothing to advance their own agendas. That is just sad.

Seemingly random as this may be for a blog entry from me (not a horse in sight!), I have been reminded recently of the inability of one particular individual to let go of something and allow herself to move on and this has sparked a revisit to a blog entry from a few years back - I thought I would re-write it in the hope that anyone reading it who is currently bearing a grudge thinks about how this negativity is affecting their everyday life and the way that they treat people or the way that they are perceived by others. In my experience bitter and suspicious people don't make very good friends, which is often a real shame as they inevitably are good people who have allowed bad things in their lives to affect them too deeply.

Life has its hurdles, it's true and we can't all get along but I think it is how you deal with the hurdles that face you and where you focus any negative feelings that helps define you as a person. So, what does this say about you? Me, I am a bit of a live and let live girl. I believe in being honest about my opinions with others but don't believe in intentionally hurting the feelings of others. There are always ways to say and do things that can help negate the hurt or, sometimes, it can be better just to say nothing and keep your feelings to yourself. I am fortunate enough to be living my dream. It's not always easy and there are aspects of the dream that are missing but it's my dream and I am definitely doing everything I can to make the most of it.



The scrum half, Mike Phillips, met with the senior Wales squad management today (Monday 27th June) following his suspension on Friday 17th June.
The player was informed that his conduct in Cardiff City Centre, earlier that week, had not adhered to the standards expected of a member of the Wales senior squad.
Phillips accepted the view of the senior management team in full and gave an assurance that he understands the action taken to punish his behaviour and is taking active steps to ensure there is no repeat.
The player addressed the Wales extended Rugby World Cup training squad players, explained his conduct and outlined his plans to ensure there is no repeat of the incident and apologised.
Following the meetings and taking into account the duration of the 10-day suspension, Phillips will now be allowed to return to the squad and take part in pre-Rugby World Cup training from tomorrow, Tuesday 28th June.
The senior squad management panel he met at their headquarters in the WRU National Centre of Excellence, consisted of Head Coach, Warren Gatland, Assistant Coach, Rob Howley, and National Squad Manager, Alan Phillips.
Mike Phillips said: “This is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me in my career. I am ashamed to have let myself get into this kind of situation and I am determined to put things right.
“As a player I’m really passionate and never back down. I know I can’t allow that part of my character to come to the surface off the rugby pitch.
“I have realised I have an issue with the way in which I deal with, and have dealt with, the pressures of my current environment and have sought, and will continue to seek, help and advice in relation to that issue.
“I have formally and sincerely apologised to my teammates and the coaching staff in the Welsh Rugby Squad and would like to take this opportunity to do exactly the same to the Welsh rugby public and anyone else who has been offended by this or other episode.
“I am a professional rugby player and I give the game my all, but there have been times I have let myself down as well as my family,the fans and my teammates.
“The positive thing to come out of everything is that I now fully recognise that I need to deal with these pressures and I am taking every step to ensure that it is resolved.
“I deeply regret my behaviour, my exclusion from the squad took place in the glare of intense publicity and all I can hope for now is the privacy to concentrate totally on convincing the squad management I deserve to keep my place and the public’s understanding and support for what I’m trying to do.
“I am a proud Welshman and I remain determined to devote myself to being the best rugby player I can possibly beto gain success for Wales in the World Cup and future tournaments.
Wales Head Coach, Gatland, added: “Mike clearly breached the disciplinary code of conduct we have in place and was dealt with decisively and properly.
“We have taken into account all the relevant issues and Mike’s apology in taking the decision to reinstate him in the extended RWC squad.
“An important factor in allowing Mike back into the squad was his decision to actively seek help to resolve his behavioural issues.”
The WRU Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, added: “It was very important for us to make it absolutely clear that Welsh rugby will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour.
“The message is now abundantly clear that we represent certain standards which will be maintained at all times both on and off the field of play. The Welsh rugby public expect it and deserve it.”
Mike Phillips was not arrested and is not facing any criminal action in relation to the events which took place in Cardiff city centre.
A substantial number of the national squad are currently attending training sessions at the WRU National Centre of excellence to complete supervised fitness, conditioning and skills regime, Phillips will join them from tomorrow. 

Bikes and Swedish Cinema: Choose Your Favourite Contest Submissions!

The deadline for the Pilen give-away contest was last night, and the entries are in! To recap, readers who fit the height criteria (this is a large bike) were invited to submit an image that depicts a person and a bicycle, and evokes some aspect of Swedish film. The winner will receive the beautiful Pilen Lyx that I am test riding for the distributor, BoxCycles. I received 30 eligible submissions, and most of the pictures were so thoughtfully done, that it seemed only fair to feature them all.

To select the winner, I will first choose five finalists based solely on the pictures. Then I will have a closer look at those entries, read their submissions carefully, and possibly contact them via email with some questions.

If you are up for it, I would love to have your input regarding which images belong among the finalists. I have some tentative favourites in mind, but if popular opinion differs from mine I will reconsider. There are too many entries here to turn this into a poll, but please feel free to let me know in the comments which images appeal to you. Here they all are, numbered 1 through 30:

1. entry from Jenny

2. entry from Marisa

3. entry from Amy

4. entry from Kitty 

5. entry from Amanda

6. entry from Lauren

7. entry from Julie

8. entry from David 

9. entry from Cris

10. entry from Maddie

11. entry from Stephanie

12. entry from Kara

13. entry from Mike White

14. entry from Louisa and Bojana

15. entry from Anders

16. entry from Janice

17. entry from David and Kate

18. entry from Marcella

19. entry from Paris

20. entry from Olivia

21. entry from Brooks and Marya

22. entry from Trevor and Melissa

23. entry from Traci

24. entry from Kate

25. entry from Kimon and Rhonda Haramis

26. entry from Gretchen

27. entry from Audra

28. entry from FieldofBluebells

29. entry from Cate Fitz

30. entry from Riding Pretty

Thank you again for taking the time to create and submit these pictures. Regardless of who wins, this is a visual treat and I hope they were fun to make. Thank you also to BoxCycles for donating the beautiful Pilen! I hope to announce the winner next week.